HD GURU’s 2011 CES Top Picks

January 8th, 2011 · 9 Comments · 3D HDTV, Blu-ray Players, Cable TV, Connected TVs, Digital Media Receivers, News, Plasma

The Consumer Electronics Show is the place where all major major home entertainment manufacturers show off their new 2011 product lines.. HD Guru spent this week scouring the press events and company booths seeking out the top new HDTV, 3D TV, Blu-ray Player, Home Theater Component, and the Best In Show. It was tough to choose a winner due to the quantity of new displays, disc players and Internet connected  devices.

The HD GURU Top Pick Awards Go To:

Best 3D TV – Panasonic VT30 Series Plasmas

Panasonic VT30 Series

Available in new 55” and 65” sizes, Panasonic raised the performance bar from last years VT20 and VT25 series plasmas. The VT30 has improved cosmetics, more Internet streaming sources and TV apps now under the name VIERA Connect.

The most important criteria we use is picture quality. While we can’t run test signals and do light level readings on the show floor we made a number of visual observations that will be reinforced when we get our first sample. Panasonic clams deeper blacks that the current model. We observed deep black levels  during the demo. The drop appears very significant and finally may challenge the long discontinued Pioneer Kuro plasma in the inky black department. Panasonic also claims improvements in energy efficiency using 25% less power than its 2010 model. In addition, Panasonic boasts a 30% brightness improvement due to new phosphors.

Panasonic spokesman also announced better 3D performance and signal processing, a bold comment considering last year’s models were widely reviewed to have the best 3D images in the industry.

Panasonic 2011 3D models use new radio frequency 3D sync and are significantly lighter than the previous years models for more comfort.

We could not pin down the Panasonic spokesman as to the VT30s release date, so we will update our story when it is announced.

Best HDTV-Samsung D8000 Series Plasma TV

Samsung PDP8000

The Samsung D8000 plasmas are all new inside and out with new cosmetics, with better performance and new and unique Internet connectivity. The best kept secret at the CES is the new 8000 series plasmas (and 8000 LED LCD models too) will be able to connect to your subscribed cable channels and services  (later this year) without a cable box if you’re a Time Warner Cable , Comcast Xfinity or a Verizon FIOS customer, something we have been waiting for since flat panel TVs arrived.

The new sets are available in three screen sizes 51”, 58” and 64”. These Samsungs have more TV Apps than any other set maker, as well as all sorts of wireless home networking features. The 8000 come with it second generation LCD screen remote control that allow you to view the same program or a different one at the same time.

Black levels were reduced from last year’s models. The 8000 models also play 3D and Samsungs representative said there is a significant reduction in crosstalk with the 2011 models. Samsung has new RF rechargeable 3D glasses too.

Best Blu-ray Player Samsung BD-D7500

Samsung BD-D7500

The BD-D7500 is the thinnest Blu-ray player in the industry with a depth of just .9 inches. It is Samsung’s top of the line 2011 Blu-ray and features 2D and 3D playback, 2-3D conversion, and internet connectivity for streaming content, Samsung apps and widgets. A new processor improves upconversion of standard definition DVD discs. WiFi is built-in. The 7500 can be wall mounted or sit on top of a shelf.

Best Home Theatre Component-LG Smart TV Upgrader

LG Smart TV Upgrader

The LG Smart TV upgrader can turn any legacy HDTV with an HDMI input into a state of the art Internet connected TV. Unlike the Apple TV the Smart TV upgrader can output at 1080p and contains an Internet browser in addition to streaming services, widget and LG’s Net TV apps.

Best In Show- Panasonic TCP-VT30 Plasmas

After looking at all the new products from Sony, Samsung, LG, Vizio, Philips and others the Panasonic TCP-VT30’s combination of outstanding image quality, deep rich black levels, Internet connectivity and incredible 3D performance made it HD Guru 2011 CES Top Pick for Best In Show.

Gary Merson, the HD GURU made the presentations of the awards at the product maker’s respective booths. It was video taped in 3D and we will post it within a few days.

We congratulate all the winners.

Have a question for the HD Guru?

Copyright © 2011 HD Guru Inc. All rights reserved. HDGURU is a registered trademark.



9 Comments so far ↓


    Need a replacement power supply for a Runco CR32HDI Any OEM Parts number & source telephone number available? Hard to find. Don’t want to send it to Mountain View for $600-$700 + ship’g

  • Al Erhart

    I am on Monday 14 March going to purchase either a Samsong 55″ LED MOdel UN55D8000y or the Panasonic Vierra V-30 55″. Both offer 3-d I read your best in show award but I am on the fence. I saw the new Samson LED and the 2 d picture was very good. So the question is which one of these would you buy for best 2d and occasional 3-d viewing?
    A prompt resopnse would be appreciated.


  • Glen

    The Tech geeks and ultra high end video/home theater stores claim Runco has the best plasma sets in the world. If thats the case, why do you and everyone else give Panasonic top spot?

  • Glucose

    CNET picked Vizio best in the TV category and Guru likes the Panny…hmmm

    Since there are no contradictions in reality, someone picked the wrong “best” TV

  • Reh

    I just bought a VT25 and it rocks. I look forward to the updates on this site in the coming weeks.

  • Todd

    So are you predicting that the Samsung D8000 Plasma will be the best 2D TV that also does 3D? Or are you predicting that VT30 will take the top honors in both 2D and 3D viewing.

    My DLP rear projector light engine is failing and I need a new set. I have been planning on a VT25 but I may have to wait for the VT30 as the VT25 in the 65 inch size is essentially sold out at a number of places. Plus, it would be a tough for me to get a VT25 today knowing the VT30 is going to be an improvement.

    I just wish we had some release dates from Panasonic.

  • JimA

    Hi. Thanks for reporting from CES. I was wondering about the new Runco Vistage series plasmas. In fact, I hardly ever read/see any coverage on Runco products. Are you telling me Samsung, LG etc.. are supeior ?

    Runco takes existing plasma TVs and makes changes such as a new cabinet, changes to the GUI and adds perhaps an external signal processor/switcher. The plasma panels, drive circuits, and overall engineering work is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) supplier which in the case plasma is either LG, Samsung or Panasonic.

    Runco normally shows new products in the fall at the CEDIA show. With so many OEM products to cover and review, modifiers such as Runco often get less coverage.

    We will be publishing more CES overage and analysis this week.

    HD Guru

  • Mitchell

    I WANT MY VT30!!

  • Sean

    Did they retain the component video slots on these VT30’s and do you know the weight?

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